The greatest earthquake in 40 years rocked Sumatra and its environs on 26 December. The 9.0 temblor sent 30 foot tidal waves across the Indian Ocean inundating the coastlines of ten countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, Eastern India, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Kenya. At the date of this writing the loss of life is catastrophic. Initial reports claim tens of thousands are dead and many more thousands are missing.
The 16th-century French seer, Michel de Nostradamus, wrote the following prophecy over four-and-a-half centuries before that could have presaged the great Sumatran quake. Quatrain 3 of Century 3 of Nostradamus’ prophetic classic “Les Propheties” says the following:
Mars & Mercure & l’argent ioint ensemble,
Vers le midy extreme siccité:
Au fond d’Asie on dira terre tremble,
Corinthe, Ephese lors en perplexité
Mars and Mercury and the silver [Moon] in conjunction.
Towards the south there will be a great drought.
From the bottom of Asia an earthquake will be reported.
Corinth [Greece] and Ephesus [Asia Minor] then in a troubled state.
Destiny altering events often find themselves echoed in Nostradamus’ prophecies, such as a super quake. On a map, Sumatra is indeed situated at the bottom of Asia. However, there have been two other deadly quakes in recent memory suffered by another region we might identify as being “from the bottom of Asia”–India. There was the Killari-Latur quake of 30 September 1993 which killed 10,000 to 40,000 people in Maharastra State (Central India), and the great Gujarati temblor of 26 January 2001 killing 50,000 to 100,000 in India’s populous northwestern state on the border with Pakistan.
Line one written all the way back in the year 1554 attempts to give us a date for when, or near about when, the quake takes place. Of Nostradamus’ 70 astrological predictions recorded in his volume of major prophecies, many have been surprisingly close or on the mark.
(Judge an assessment of the accuracy of these astrological predictions by reading Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies ; and Nostradamus: The New Millennium )
The crux of this prophecy’s message is the following. At a time astrologically slotted in line one, there will be a great drought towards the south (“le Midy” in Old French).By referring to the “south” he might only mean his home region of southern France: “le Midi” or Provence. Otherwise “le Midi” could imply this and much more: the regions “south” of France itself, such as North Africa, suffers a great and lingering drought. When this happens, line three predicts an earthquake in the nether regions of Asia. That would include a wide area from the South Asian subcontinent (India) to the Dutch East Indies (Sumatra, Indonesia) as the target area.
It is a fact that southern France and Saharan Africa have endured record droughts between the years 1993 through 2004, whether we are talking about the Killari-Latur or Gujarat quakes, or the most recent submarine quake centered 125 miles off the northwest coast of the northern Sumatran province of Aceh. Moreover, seismic activity in August 1999, in the regions of Greece (code named “Corinth” and Turkey (code named “Ephesus”), was responsible for some of the worst loss of life and destruction of property in a century. These quakes took place five years after Killari-Latur and two years before the Gujarat quakes “from the bottom of Asia.”
I wrote the following passage, in October of 2001 for pp. 216 of Nostradamus: The New Millennium. It explains how the Killari-Latur and Gujarat quakes measure up to the clues of the prophecy. I added brackets today for clarity:
“Back in the first editions of this book [published in 1987 and 1991] I interpreted Quatrain 3 of Century 3 as an astrological dating for a major quake ‘reported in the bottom of Asia’–in other words, India–for October of 1993 when Mercury, Mars and Saturn are in Aquarius. Indeed the last day of September 1993 did see the massive Killari-Latur earthquake strike central India and kill 10,000 people. [This was the conservative number.] The prophecy also said the quake in India would take place when Turkey and Greece are in a ‘troubled state.’ At the time of the Killari-Latur quake both countries nearly went to war over disputed islands in the Aegean Sea.
“The Gujarati quake in northwestern India of 26 January 2001 nearly saw the same astrological conjunction. Around the time when one out of every ten high rise apartments from Bhuj to Ahmedabad collapsed into dust heaps of unreinforced rubble, the planet Mercury and the Moon were in conjunction in Aquarius. Mars was in Scorpio this time, though, putting it nearly 90 degrees from the other conjoined two–this ‘square’ of Mars to other major planets often appears around great quakes. Although Mars was not in conjunction, two of the three planets were again in the sign of Aquarius as before in the Killari-Latur quake! Perhaps this is another example of Nostradamus overlapping more than one of tomorrow’s events seen from the far-off 1550s. Except for Mars not being in Aquarius there were certainly other parallels. Greece and Turkey are still in a troubled, adversarial state. The ‘unstable and troubled state’ mentioned by Nostradamus could also stand for the series of catastrophic earthquakes unleashed on Greece and especially Western Turkey in August of 1999. This is close enough in time for the Gujarat quake to be part of the prophecy. The mention of great Indian quakes at the time of great drought in the south of France applies itself well to tremors 1993 and 2001 and to the ongoing desertification of sub-Saharan Africa.”
Moving forward to the present catastrophe, the loss of life and property damage from tsunamis generated by the Sumatran temblor of 26 December may eventually make this the most far reaching and destructive of the three candidates for Nostradamus’ quake from the bottom of Asia.
Astrologically speaking, the aspects expected by Nostradamus that Mercury, Mars and the Moon should be conjoined is partially fulfilled. Again two of the three planets described are in the same sign: Mercury and Mars in Sagittarius. The planets are not in Aquarius like the last two times, but Nostradamus did not specify the importance of the sign in his prophecy. The Moon was in Cancer during the quake so there is no literal conjoining possible with Mercury and Mars. The quake did take place when the moon was full. Therefore, Nostradamus mentioned the moon together with the other planets possibly inferring a more poetic than literal union of signs dating the quake.
Line one says:
“Mars and Mercury and the silver [Moon] in conjunction…”
Nostradamus often uses the alchemical metaphor “d’argent” for the moon when describing the complete waxing of the silver light of a full moon. The Sumatran quake took place on the day of a full moon!
Mars again was in a square aspect, like the Gujarati quake, this time with the planet Uranus. Again, many of the greatest and most devastating earthquakes in the past century took place when Mars or Uranus was either squared the sun or each other!
What then for the near future? Does the final line of the prophecy forebode another great quake, and where?
“…Corinth [Greece] and Ephesus [Asia Minor] then in a troubled state.”
There are a number of poetic possibilities for the old French meaning of “perplexité”, such as “troubled” or “chaotic” or “confused.” These need not only be applied to the “shake up” of earth tremors alone but can also point to political, or social upheavals. A great “quake” of social or natural disasters may visit Greece and Turkey next. Or perhaps a quake of terror and war from the Middle East may spread there.
It could be said that Nostradamus sometimes saw future events slightly askew in sequence. We can reason that the quakes he expected in Greece and Turkey coming “after” the great temblor reported “from the bottom of Asia” have already taken place back in August of 1999.
Whatever the final sequence, Nostradamus and other prophets forecasting our new century expect earth and civilization shaking times ahead.
(27 December 2004)